Monday, June 15, 2009

sweating sweating sweating

Well, the wedding was a success, and like every trip to Florida, I’m glad it’s over and surprised I’m alive. I spent some time at the pool, and I spent some time at the poolside bar. I only flipped out and yelled at someone until they began to tear up once, but then I quickly recovered my composure, apologized and made friends. All in all, pretty good trip. Thanks for holding down the fort while I was away.
This weekend was my favorite festival in Chicago, Ribfest, and I missed it. Well, actually I got back just in time to sneak in, realize that everyone was out of ribs, and settle on a chicken kabob before passing out in the sweaty pile of exhaustion that is me after a destination wedding. I woke up at 320 am just losing my mind. My mind was racing and I was absolutely convinced that I’d done something real bad, though I couldn’t figure out what it was. My dreams were fucked up and I think that had something to do with it. Anyway, long story short, I’m tired and a little uneasy. Whatever though, right? Nothing a bike ride won’t fix.
I’ve been listening to “Forgot About Dre” lately. Man, that last verse of Dre’s is probably one of the single greatest verses in the history of rap, and do you know why? Confidence, people. He’s rapping about how he’s been sucking, but now, he’s back, and now that all yall didn’t stand by him when he was sucking, he’s leaving you, and the entire rap game, which he so very obviously dominates, behind. It’s real, real good, and I’m not a gigantic Dre fan or anything. It’s just like a perfect storm. Rappers always try to pretend that they’ve got so much confidence, and that they control the entire spectrum and future of rap, but only Dre really sounds like he’s just disgusted with everyone out there. It’s a total bitch slap to the face of every other rapper. He’s so fucking over it that he’s not even pretending that he wasn’t putting out records that were up to par. That’s confidence, man. I know, it’s nine years old, and Eminem probably wrote the verse and this probably couldn’t be more irrelevant, but I’m listening to lots of stuff now to keep my brain sharp, or perhaps to the point, sharpen it again. I’m feeding my head again after a LONG period of not listening to music or reading.
People often write in and ask ‘how do you write songs?’ well, here’s the answer everyone, take note: Read. Read tons of magazines, books articles, dumb self important blogs, whatever. Watch television and listen to music, but mostly, mostly you have to read. There’s no way to produce without putting gas in the tank. Listen to music that makes you think, not just the music that you want to make, although that’s important too. However, if Strike Anywhere went and listened to nothing but Rise Against for inspiration (or vice versa) there’d be no way to progress beyond that basic level. It’s always diminishing returns when you stay locked into a genre. My big influence lyrically, for a long time was Eminem, simply because I loved his ideas of how verses flowed and the intersyllabic rhymeschemes that he came up with. I don’t think that my music sounds particularly like Eminem, but I used that influence or inspiration to do something that I wouldn’t have been able to pull off otherwise. Does that make sense? I read books and find sentences that I think are super powerful and concentrated and I earmark them and come back to them, or just let them come out when I write words down. It’s a constant process of expulsion, consumption. Kind of like barfing up gigantic tubs of jizz and then eating them again…No, sorry. Not like that at all. It’s like eating all bran. You have to make yourself eat it, then it makes you shit more than you ever would otherwise, then you have to keep eating more and more all bran, and keep shitting and keep sifting through that shit for all the diamonds. Is that a decent metaphor? Good. See, kids, just keep reading and you too will be able to craft finely hewn uh…strings of sparkling shit metaphors. Good game today. I gotta go outside, man.

15 comments:

Katie said...

that's pretty much how I feel after coming back from Florida. I'll be there this week for "vacation". Feels weird that i think of it as vacation even though I used to live there. now where's my fanny pack?

Tim & Rac said...

Eminem had the wittiest, crassest lyrics when he started rapping regardless of the common perception MTV fans have of him. I wouldn't pick up his shit now, but the story telling was elite. Also, reading will never go out of style.

AndBurnTheRest said...

Glad to see you made it back alive. I've never been a big rap guy but I was always caught by how effortless Eminem made his music sound and how he punctuated what he was saying so sharply.

Anyway, I am leaving on Friday for a week of hobo-ing around Dublin and Galway, anyone have any suggestions on where to go/eat/drink/see?

Sickie27 said...

Eminem was my favorite rapper. Along with Jay Z. Maybe Wu Tang back in the day. Yeah, I grew up on that stuff.

I remember when I got into punk my mom and brother told me I couldn't be black anymore... Or something. (I'm Japaense/Black, btw). And for years I got called "white". It was weird. Whatever.

Troy said...

Miami guy here. FUCK YA'LL
Let's see how many followers start listening to Eminem now because of this post.

Banana@1000MPH said...

Fine, I'll be the first one to really say it: I don't like Eminem. It is fine that you do, Brendan, but I just thought I would be a little different (hopefully not in too dick-ish of a manner). I used to listen to Bay Area rap like Mac Dre until it started getting to me how ignorant it all was and now I listen to the exact stereotype of white people rap like everything on Rhymsayers and everything on Definitive Jux.

kylewagoner said...

Eminem influences our main songwriter. Nothing too out of the ordinary; he's an amazing songwriter.

kylewagoner said...

Okay, I have advice to ask for and it doesn't have to do with relationships or girls. My father and his boyfriend (or my father via his boyfriend) have been continuously asking me where I'm going to college. I continuously keep telling them that I'm not sure yet, I'm a junior in high school (soon to be senior) and I'm still trying to explore what I could possibly like to do on the side of being a musician. I plan on moving someplace away from this small town in West Virginia so that that will be a more plausible thing to do, but I still don't know why it's really important to go to college to balance drumming in bands and working a day job. I also realize that going to college for music allows you to become a music teacher and nothing else (at least in this area). I had originally figured I'd just go to college for a business degree because you can use business in like anything and it'd even help if I was in a band manage things financially. How are colleges in Chicago? Should I even bother at this point in my life? Should I move to New England and drum in a NYC or Philly hardcore band? Should I give up my dream and be a medical doctor? I define "success" as staying alive and enjoying yourself while making others happy. I don't know who better to ask than you, so please, tell me what the fuck I should do.

love,
Kyle

Andrew said...

i always thought eminem was decent. i had a rap phase through junior high like everybody else. eminem, nelly, 50 cent, outkast, and jay-z were my favs. i can still listen to some rap songs without cringing. but most of the shit that gets put out under that genre is the worst kind of music i can possibly imagine. that's just me though.

Banana@1000MPH said...

Beex, this is like brokencyde without the screaming:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x9l4eg_stereos-summer-girl_music%20

c. brennan said...

Kyle,

I know your question isn’t for me, but I think it’s fitting that it comes at the end of a post which attests to the beneficial influence a broad/liberal education can have on musicianship and songwriting. My advice is to at least consider college. Higher education and a potential career as a musician aren’t mutually exclusive options, and you especially shouldn’t give up a chance at the former if you aren’t currently playing in a band that’s at least moderately successful. University can also pose as a great excuse to get out of your small town bubble and set up in a place (Chicago, NYC, whatever) where you’ll probably meet a lot of musicians who will push you out of your comfort zone, musically and intellectually. That was my experience, at least. And if your dad is pushing you so hard to go to college, maybe he’ll be willing to support you enough financially so you can cut back the hours on that day job. Parents are usually willing to compromise on that shit, even if it means pressuring their own means (his boyfriend seems pretty excited about your potential, in any case). Besides that, there’s financial aid and student loans. Just try not to look at the situation in either/or terms. Keep working hard at what you love and with a lot of luck it will come through some day, but dude, you’re young! Drawing these hard lines around your options at this age is tempting, but in the end it’s pretty silly.

rushincircles said...

Ok, so I gotta read. What do I read? BSC isn't cutting it, apparently.

Kyle Milton said...

give me one more platinum plaque and fuck rap you can have it back.

PoliticsOfStarving said...

The very first mp3 i ever downloaded was My Name Is (i think thats what its called) back in... 1997? Anyway, i downloaded a few of his songs over the years, even though i can't stand rap music.
Something about his vocal delivery and he seems to often poke fun at the rap and hiphop genre.

Matt said...

Kyle,

I'll throw my two cents into this, being that I have a degree in Music, so I can relate. When I was in high school, all I wanted to do was play in a band, but you have to realize it is a long shot that it will work out for you. Even if it does, and you are in a semi-popular punk/hardcore band, one day it is going to end, and you are going to be stuck in the real world with no further education. I went away for 4 years, and played in a bunch of great bands, partied my face off, and got my B.A. in Music Industry.

Now, you said that getting a music degree only leads to a job as a music teacher. This isn't true my friend. You need to look at college as a whole. You can minor in business (which is what I did) so you can relate all your music learning to the real world (learning about marketing, business law, etc.) I never noticed how much of the stuff I learned in college would help me out playing in a band. I'm in a band that is starting to deal with getting paid a decent amount for shows, and it is nice to be able to throw stuff back at people because you know what the fuck you are talking about business wise.

Long story short, research schools with music programs and shoot for those. If you give it an honest shot, you can attend college, have a fucking blast, play in bands, and maybe whip up a great band that will take you places. If not, you'll atleast have a degree behind you. It never hurts to be educated my friend.